Bay Meadows nearing finishing line

The wild cheers rose higher than the dust as race horses pounded the track at what is likely the last day of Bay Meadows’ last regular season meet.

Surf Town, ridden by jockey Chris Landeros, won the afternoon race — to the chagrin of Maureen Serafini, who hadn’t won a bet all day and had pinned her last hopes to long shot Licari.

Serafini’s pouting lower lip after the race was not only attributable to the lost bet, but also to the loss of what she described as “a bygone era.” Serafini, who had insisted her family bring her to Bay Meadows for Mother’s Day, was there to witness the last regular races in the track’s storied history.

If all goes to plan — and a last-ditch lawsuit to save the track fails — Bay Meadows will host San Mateo County Fair’s races in August and then be demolished to make way for hundreds of condominiums and offices.

Serafini, who has been coming to the races at Bay Meadows for what she would only describe as “several, several, several decades,” said she is heartbroken.

“I’m quite emotional to be here on the last day of the races,” she said. “Extremely sad.”

Her daughter pointed out that it was actually the second time they’ve been to Bay Meadows for the “last day” of the races — last fall, they came to the “last day” when it looked like there might not be a spring meet.

But if the attendance records say anything, most racing fans believe this “last” might really be it. At least 7,000 fans came out to see the races Sunday, said racetrack publicity director Tom Ferrall.

Though the demolition seems inevitable nowthat city officials have signed off on it, the grassroots group Friends of Bay Meadows announced Friday that a last-ditch lawsuit to save the racetrack is in the works.

But 72-year-old Essie Stone says it’s difficult for her to be hopeful about the track anymore. Stone said it almost made her sad to see so many people at Bay Meadows on its last day of regular racing.

“All these people out here, if they’d have stood up when it mattered, we’d have saved our racetrack,” she said bitterly.

kworth@examiner.com  

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